The National Rifle Association held its annual firearms fapfest this past weekend, and while Sarah Palin was a featured speaker, the real star of the show was a big, fat Fox News lie. Palin told the crowd that Attorney General Eric Holder wants to "have government have gun owners wear bracelets, special bracelets that would identify you as a gun owner," and added "Hey, Holder, you don't wanna go there, buddy."
She went on to explain that "Holder" didn't want to "go there" because she already has a bracelet that says "Don't Tread on Me," which, I guess, identifies her as a patch of wet cement? I don't get it.
I suppose Palin should be congratulated for not referring to the Attorney General of the United States as "buddy-boy" (yep, we hear ya), but it's tough to ignore the hysteria she's spreading to a bunch of well-armed, agitated people. Her warning to Holder was based on some Fox News reporting on a supposed plan to force gun owners to wear "tracking bracelets."
Here's a little sampling of that, followed by Palin's remark:
There are actually two huge lies in this reporting, but who's counting. First of all, the bracelets in question don't "track" anyone or anything, or wouldn't if they existed. All they would do would be to act as a key, to only allow a gun to be fired by the owner of the weapon, or wearer of the bracelet. I don't particularly like that idea, because I don't think many people are going to buy a gun that carries with it the prospect of confronting an intruder, and finding out you've only got a tinny Casio version of "Bad to the Bone" to ward him off with. Frankly, I'd be happy if the NRA would just stop telling parents not to lock up their guns.
Crappy idea or not, though, these are not "tracking bracelets," or "identification bracelets," and the reason I know this is that Attorney General Holder clearly explained this at a House Appropriations Committee hearing that those Fox News reports all cited, and even played the odd clip from. In the same hearing, Attorney General Holder also explained that this was not a mandate (actually, Rep. Andy Harris, Republican of Maryland, also explained it in his question), but a research grant for the development of the technology. If only Fox News had access to C-Span, they'd have seen Attorney General Holder explain the whole thing in two minutes:
The Budget includes $2.0 million for OJP to support the Administration’s challenge to the private sector to develop innovative and cost-effective gun safety technology. The funding for this initiative will provide prizes for those technologies that are proven to be reliable and effective. This
will be funded from OJP’s 2 percent research set-aside.
It's a $2 million grant program for private companies to develop a gun that nobody will have to buy, and which nobody ever will buy. Now, that's a story.